Summary of Doctors Have Become Less Empathetic, but Is It Their Fault?

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Doctors Have Become Less Empathetic, but Is It Their Fault? summary
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Although empathy toward patients dramatically benefits therapeutic outcomes, this seemingly simple remedy is too often missing from the medical consultation. Physician David Scales doesn’t blame doctors themselves. He reveals decades-old research showing that time pressure kills empathy in otherwise caring individuals. He calls for finding ways to change the modern health system so doctors’ natural empathy can shine through again. getAbstract recommends Scales’s analysis to health care providers and patients.

About the Author

David Scales is a resident physician in internal medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He has worked as a medical sociologist and research fellow at Harvard Medical School.

 

Summary

Most patients want their doctors to listen and care. Patients who receive empathetic treatment follow medical advice, feel in control of their health and heal more quickly. However, data show that medical students become less empathetic over the course of their training. Meditation and communication trainings aim to help doctors feel for their patients, but these solutions largely ignore the environment in which doctors operate. The pressure of brief appointment slots, constant interruptions and endless paperwork prevents doctors from giving their patients time and...


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